From now until 2020, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) will scale up its focus on policy by providing more options to key customers. As the EU's own in-house research arm with seven institutes located in five countries, the strategy for the coming decade is expected to further strengthen policy and research ties both within the European Commission and other clients. The new plan was presented recently by JRC Director-General Roland Schenkel at the Euro-Science Open Forum (ESOF) held in Italy. The strategy was developed after extensive consultation with stakeholders in 2009, including 12 working groups made up of 150 scientists and administrative support staff from across the JRC. The priorities also represent a response to recommendations made to the JRC by an independent review panel led by former UK Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King. The JRC's new vision is to become a trusted provider of science-based policy options to policymakers throughout the EU and to address key societal challenges. The approach is in line with the EU's forthcoming Eighth Framework Programme (FP8) and the Europe 2020 Strategy. Under the JRC Strategy 2010-2020, the research centre will focus its efforts on seven 'Grand Challenges' outlined by the EU: (1) towards an open and competitive economy; (2) development of a low carbon society; (3) sustainable management of natural resources; (4) safety of food and consumer products; (5) nuclear safety and security; (6) security and crisis management; and (7) reference materials and measurements. In introducing the new strategy, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: 'In a globalised economy with complex societal challenges and rapid technological progress, the European Commission more than ever needs the services of a world-class research organisation capable of adapting and delivering integrated solutions.' Along with its usual high standard of scientific and technical support, the JRC's goal is to add a forward-looking capacity that will help anticipate societal, economic, environmental, technical or scientific issues that may become relevant to EU policymaking in the future. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn explained that under the new strategy the JRC will act as the European Commission's radar to identify future risks and opportunities. She added that the JRC is an asset for Europe that deserves to be more widely recognised. 'The Commission needs the JRC to provide cutting-edge, in-house research to underpin policymaking. This strategy will enhance its capacity for policy analysis and focus its expertise on helping to deliver the Europe 2020 goal of sustainable and inclusive prosperity,' said the Commissioner. The JRC was originally established by the Euratom Treaty of 1957. Today, it is a Directorate-General of the European Commission with an annual budget of approximately EUR 350 million. Its function is to work closely with EU policymaking processes and serve the common interest of EU Member States. The JRC's 2,750-strong staff work at its research institutes which are located in 5 EU countries. The strategy will be reviewed in 2013 and 2016.